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Williams-Skrip wedding: The poem, the guests, the festivities

The Principals

The bride: Vanessa Williams, 52, is a celebrated actress on television, film and Broadway, a singer, former model and the first African-American Miss America. Her mother, Helen Tinch Williams, is a Buffalo native who moved downstate after marrying her late husband, Milton. Helen and Milton raised Vanessa and their son, Chris, who is also an actor, in Millwood, New York. Every year during Vanessa’s childhood, they visited Helen’s family in Buffalo. (Members of the Tinch family still live here today.)

The groom: Jim Skrip of Depew is a retired accountant who met Willliams three years ago on a cruise in Egypt. Williams noticed Skrip’s Sabres shirt and asked, “Are you from Buffalo?” That conversation led to a long-distance romance. Skrip, a 1984 graduate of St. Bonaventure University and supporter of the school’s business program, is selling his late parents’ home in Depew and moving downstate to be with his wife, who lives in Westchester.

The Poem

“There is a time for love “

(Written by Chris Williams, Vanessa’s brother, for the occasion of his sister’s marriage to Jim Skrip. Chris officiated over the exchange of vows, which took place at the Statler.)

it has no past

it knows not of the future

cannnot be planned

cannot be controlled

cannot be manipulated

Love breathes and thrives in the moment.

it engulfs


endures with the strength of army yet the fragility of a blossom

it makes us, vibrant, victorious, voluminous and vulnerable

but love

Commences in the present and moves




without restriction

without reduction

without restraint

love begins


The Festivities:

• Friday, July 3: “Welcome to Buffalo” dinner at Pearl Street Grill & Brewery featuring Buffalo foods

• Saturday, July 4: A Mass of thanksgiving at Saint Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church followed by the wedding ceremony and Egyptian-themed reception at Statler City

• Sunday, July 5: Brunch at Hotel @ The Lafayette

Guests: 385

Wedding party: Vanessa’s daughters Melanie Hervey, 28, Jillian Hervey, 26, and Sasha Gabriella Fox, 15, stood at her side. Jim was joined by his two brothers and Vanessa’s son, Devin Hervey, 22

Notable guests: Teri Hatcher, Williams’ “Desperate Housewives” co-star; “Ugly Betty” stars Ana Ortiz, Christopher Gorham, Mark Indelicato and Tony Plana; celebrity make-up artist Sam Fine; Per-fekt Beauty Inc. founder Richard Anderson; designer Carmen Marc Valvo, who designed gowns for Vanessa, her three daughters, and mother

Hotel rooms: 150

A sampling of people and businesses involved:

• Wedding planner Carla Measer-Costamagna (Costamagna Design, East Aurora) worked with Williams’ executive assistant Brian Edwards to carry out the stars’ vision of an Egyptian oasis.

• Mike’s Homemade Candies of Buffalo provided sponge candy and orange chocolate for rehearsal dinner.

• Wedding-day trolleys that transported guest from the church to Statler City came from Buffalo Trolleys of Niagara Falls.

• Vanessa and Jim’s ride was a 1960 Rolls Royce from Advantage Limousine Inc. of Buffalo.

• Musicians included Robert Winkler (organist) and Laura Munson (cantor) at church; and at the reception, the Dave Gawronski Polka Band of Buffalo; the Greg Paul Webster Trio of Los Angeles, whose namesake is a Western New York native; Jim’s nephew Will Skrip, a musical theater actor in Chicago, who performed “All Good Gifts” from “Godspell;” Buffalo native Carmen Ruby Floyd, Vanessa’s Broadway castmate in “After Midnight.”

• Belly dancers at the reception came from Arabesque Dance Company of Toronto.

• Muscoreil’s Fine Desserts of North Tonawanda created a tiered cake with gold papyrus leaves.

• Jim bought Vanessa’s wedding ring at Bomi Jewelers in Snyder; Vanessa also wore Bomi pearls and a bracelet at church and gave her three daughters Bomi necklaces

• Vanessa’s Buffalo cousin, Sam Ringwood, served as DJ at the rehearsal dinner.

• Additional credits: Shutter Dream Studio, Buffalo (videographer); Brian Hatton of New York City (photographer); Zohar Productions of Arizona (tents at the reception); Courtney Calligraphy of Lancaster; All Season Rental of Buffalo (linens and tableware); sound by CJ Sound of Buffalo; and DJ AntiQ of Los Angeles was the reception DJ.

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